It's a good thing I waited a few days to write about this. Honest.
Had I done it last week, this post would have been filled with horrendous language, probably every other word. The kind of words that make sailors blush. Those ones.
It was a bad week.
The Entire Healthcare Industry - yep all of it
I spent every.single.day. last week fighting with insurance companies, dealing with pharmacies and the employees who surely got tired of seeing my angry face, and making phone call after phone call after phone call to the doctor only to pick up yet another script that I took back to the pharmacy and found out we still couldn't afford.
My daughter needs medication to treat a recently diagnosed condition. Because of the way that our wonderful health care system works, doctors have no idea how much medication costs. They prescribe what they prefer, which usually is whatever the reps from big pharma push at them the hardest. (don't even get me started on that, it's another post entirely) Our doctor's office has a handy little icon system that's supposed to approximate affordability when they pull up possible medications in their computer....except that it's no more accurate than just pulling a number out of thin air.
The pharmacy can't look up substitutes without having a written prescription, since everything has to actually be run through the insurance to see how much it will be. The insurance company has a formulary online, but it's wrong. The employees of the insurance company that I talked to gave me even more wrong information.
NO ONE INVOLVED IN TREATMENT HAS ACCESS TO COST INFORMATION. The doctors don't know, the pharmacists can't tell. Hell, even the insurance company doesn't actually know. Patients (and their parents) are at the mercy of a system that operates with no transparency, forced to try and figure it all out backwards. This is what is wrong with health care, my friends.
By Friday, I was ready to tear my hair out.
Four days had passed.
Four trips to the pharmacy.
Four times I came home with nothing.
Four days of telling my kid that I was doing the best I could to get what she needed.
I can't afford a medication that is going to cost $200/mo. On the fifth day, we finally got a prescription that we could swing the cost of.
We have insurance. My husband works in the industry. We still can't afford the cost of health care.
When it comes down to it, the only difference between the medication we ended up with and most of the other ones we tried (all generics by the way)....ready for this???? A coating. A teeny tiny little film around a capsule. That's it. That's the difference between $36/mo and $200/mo.
When I finally dropped off the last prescription, the pharmacists as frustrated as I was, they all understood. We already have to pay 100% out of pocket for diabetes test strips and all the other testing supplies. The last batch set us back over $500. Sure, it counts towards our deductible....but we still have to pay 100% for strips even after we meet it. The strips aren't covered. At all. Insurance will cover insulin if and when we get to that point, but they'll never ever cover the strips - the things that actually give us the most immediate information about my son's health.
I'm extremely grateful that my other daughter seems to finally be outgrowing her asthma. One of her inhalers is $800/mo. I'm not kidding. She ran out of that medication and we couldn't afford to refill it, so she's making due with what we have. Thankfully it seems to be enough. Trying to keep three kids with chronic conditions healthy is killing us financially.
I had all kinds of other things to be pissed off about, like GMOs and bees and vaccines...but I'm still too wrapped up in all this to devote the proper amount of energy to them. Maybe next week, although by then I'll have a whole new list.
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